Retrospective: The Best Female R&B Groups of the 90s

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Female R&B singers and groups help make the genre stay fresh. Over the years, female stars have arisen in the music business to create a lane for themselves. There were hundreds of girl groups in the 90's, but only a select few achieved levels of success and maintained a presence. Today, I take a look back at the best R&B female groups and what they represented. Missing from this list: Nuttin' Nyce, Jomanda, All Saints, Divine, For Real and a few others who were pretty noteworthy during this decade. Instead, we highlight the best of the best and some underrated groups as well from the 90's. Let's get it started.


-This group came out of nowhere it felt like. Essentially, 702 was a great avenue for Missy Elliott, so it would seem, as she would end up being a writer on their albums and penned their biggest hits "Steelo" and "Where My Girls At". You can hear the Missy influence clearly through the songs. I've always had a bit of a thing for Irish of the group, as she was fine as hell. RIP to Orish also.


-This trio of beautiful ladies came with a massive hit in "Don't Walk Away", which remains their claim to fame. The trio would go on to have a few more songs make it big as far as hits, but let there be no mistake, "Don't Walk Away" and the infectious harmony remains their biggest moment.


-This group would strike it big with the classic hit "If You Love Me", which has taken on a second life via being sampled by Tory Lanez in the song "Say It". They had a successful first album and Grammy nominations so it's safe to say they belong here on this list.

*Kut Klose

-Their biggest claim to fame might be Keith Sweat saying "Kut Klose, help me out", before they killed the hook with him on "Twisted", but the ladies had some solid music of their own. The Atlanta based group had hits such as "I Like" and "Get Up On It" from their album Surrender. Shame we didn't get much more from them but they made their mark.

*Changing Faces

-Cassandra and Charisse hit the scene with a bedroom anthem in the R. Kelly penned (of course) track "Stroke You Up". With the hilarity of R. Kelly adlibs singing "I don't mind" as the ladies ask if they could stroke you up and down, the content from the ladies definitely became a bit more aggressive than what we were used to. Probably the most underrated group on the list as their hit single "G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T." also kept them winning big in the 90's. Not bad for two women who started making demos after working at a dermatologist's office together.


-Jersey. Well, New Jersey spawned the trio of Kima, Keisha, and Pam who would sign to Bad Boy Records and experience a large amount of success with the label and as a group. From their hit single "Can't You See", to the guest appearances on LL Cool's "Loungin" and Mase's "What You Want", this trio staked their claim as one of the top R&B groups of the decade. Continuing their run with a platinum album and more hits in "Kissing You", "What About Us", and the Missy assisted "Trippin". Total remains one of my favorite female groups to listen to, as they had a bit of an edge to their music.


-This group wasn't necessarily the biggest in the 90's, but they definitely made their mark with a timeless and unintentionally hilarious hit single "He's Mine". As the lyrics of "He's mine.... you might have had him once but I got him all the time" pumped through speakers, confused women all over the world proudly sung along. While the song itself is a bit funny, it is no denying that it was a big hit, one of the biggest in the 90's on urban radio.


-RIP Natina Reed, my personal favorite member of this group. A trio of attractive young women signed to Left Eye's production company made their splash right at the end of the 90's basically. They would release a self titled album that would end up going platinum and two big singles in "808" and "Bring It All To Me". They made some noise during 1999 and would turn that into a role in the cheerleader movie "Bring It On" in 2000, making them a double threat, as they could sing and act.


-Whenever the sounds of "Hey Mr. DJ" play, it makes just about any party go crazy. The rhythm, the sound, the voices from these ladies are top notch, however it isn't my favorite from them. Another party starter in "Groove Thang" pushed their music to another level and though their run was short lived as well, it still was memorable and fun. You can't ask for too much more.


-There are few groups who were as visible and popular as Xscape in the 90's. Platinum albums, consecutive hits, the group made sure that So So Def was buzzing on the R&B side for sure. With singles like "Who Can I Run To" and "Just Kickin It" amongst others, this group is easily one of the best female groups and groups period in 90's R&B.


-This quartet of lovely ladies was signed to Mariah Carey's label Crave Records (every big artist had a label at one point it seemed like), and they released a moderately successful album due to the success of their 112 assisted song "All Cried Out". While the group wasn't the biggest of the decade, they made an impact.

*Destiny's Child

-Yes, I know. Beyonce is one of the biggest stars in the world. Yes. But her beginnings were in the huge group Destiny's Child originally with Kelly, LeToya and Latavia. They started slow with their first self titled album, but their 2nd album took off, as "The Writing's On The Wall" went 8X platinum on the strength of the bird anthem "Bills, Bills, Bills", and "Say My Name". One of the most successful groups of all time, but it all started in the late 90's.


-This might be my pick for the actual best group of the 90s on the female side. Musically I really enjoyed the style and flavor SWV brought to the table. They did their thing better than the average group and with classics like "Rain", "Right Here", "Weak", "I'm So Into You", "Use Your Heart"(produced by a young Neptunes and written by Pharrell), and so many more. Their music was infectious, had soul to it, and they were hands down the most consistent of the 90s to me personally on the music side. One of the greatest groups to do it in the genre.

*En Vogue 

-Another huge group of the decade and likely top 3 from the 90's, En Vogue had a special flare about them that led them to become one of the most successful groups of the period. Hits like "My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It)", "Free Your Mind", "Hold On", "Don't Let Go(Love)", En Vogue is right there at the top of the charts and the list for best female R&B groups of the decade. Though they went through a ton of breakups and reunions, the fact remains they are one of the best, not just in this decade, but also period.


-Of course, I had to mention the biggest group of the 90's. TLC couldn't miss during the 90's. Nothing but successful albums and singles and controversy surrounded the group. No need to go into huge detail as we recently did an article on them, but we definitely can't forget the hits like "Creep", "Red Light Special", "Waterfalls", "What About Ur Friends", "No Scrubs", and more. The CrazySexyCool album remains one of the all time greats and a classic.

See any groups missing from this list? Post them below in the comments section.



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